BEST EPISODE: Veronica Mars

We live in the golden age of television, and never has TV been more important in our culture.

Over five weeks we’ll be exploring the absolute best TV has to offer. Every Wednesday, contributor Jeremy Koffsky will delve into the “best” episode from a certain show.

By Jeremy Koffsky

This Week:
Veronica Mars

‘Not Pictured’
[Season 2 Episode 22]

‘Not Pictured’, the second season finale of Veronica Mars, is one of the most emotionally wrenching TV episodes ever. Every clue in the preceding mystery ties together so perfectly, revealing a meticulously planned story. Showrunner Rob Thomas wrote a breathtaking culmination to the previous 43 episodes.

Not a scene is wasted. Whether it is Weevil being arrested, Keith and Woody’s confrontation, or Veronica’s four minute flashback while talking to Beaver, nothing feels out of place. Everything has a strong emotional purpose.

Aside from all that praise, the reason this is the best episode of Veronica Mars is because of the last 14 minutes. Veronica facing Beaver alone on a roof provide the most intense standoff in the show’s run. Kyle Gallner’s performance as Beaver is amazing. He goes from a vulnerable geek who fans liked, to a rapist and murderer in one scene. Miraculously, the twist totally works. It’s incredible. The tension of a gun pointed at Veronica is unbeatable.

There are a few mishaps in this episode, like Veronica’s dream sequence, which I find to be over-stylized and serve no purpose, or Wallace and Jackie’s ending, a storyline I never found compelling at any point in the season, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. Logan, Mac, and of course Veronica, are completely changed for season three.

Season two of Veronica Mars was ambitious and exciting. Yes, it was hard to follow, but it’s so rewarding because of the attention to detail. Upon rewatching, the culmination of the bus crash mystery is genius. It provides a blueprint on how to execute twists.

A simpler Veronica Mars would have the titular character solving basic high school mysteries, and meaningful character development would be non-existent. Thankfully, this boundary-pushing drama wasn’t afraid to get dark.